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Ancient Coins of North Africa
Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, 51 - 30 B.C., Paphos, Cyprus

|Cleopatra| |VII|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Cleopatra| |VII| |Thea| |Philopator,| |51| |-| |30| |B.C.,| |Paphos,| |Cyprus||dichalkon|NEW
Kreuzer, in his book The Coinage System of Cleopatra VII and Augustus in Cyprus, assembles evidence dating this type to Cleopatra VII instead of the reign of Ptolemy IV used in older references.
GP96087. Bronze dichalkon, Kreuzer p. 44, first illustration; Svoronos 1160 (Ptolemy IV); SNG Cop 649; Weiser -, gF, green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, weight 1.796 g, maximum diameter 11.2 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos mint, 51 - 30 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of Cleopatra VII as Isis right, hair in melon-coiffure; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY - BAΣIΛEΩΣ, double cornucopia flanked by ribbons; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 282 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |I| |Soter,| |305| |-| |282| |B.C.||obol|NEW
Cyprus became part of Alexander the Great's empire when he defeated Persia. After the succession struggles between Alexander's generals, Cyprus was ruled by the Ptolemies of Egypt.
GP96077. Bronze obol, Lorber CPE B110a; Svoronos 363; BMC Ptolemies p. 14, 7; Mionnet VI 229; Weiser 8; Noeske 107; Cox Curium 69; Malter 55; SNG Milan 12; SNG Cop -, VF, nice green patina, high points not fully struck, die damage reverse upper right, weight 7.099 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Cypriot Salamis(?) mint, c. 294 - 285 B.C.; obverse head of Alexander the Great right, wearing elephant scalp headdress; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings partially open, EY over (XAP monogram) left; $150.00 SALE |PRICE| $135.00


Kyrene, Kyrenaika, N. Africa, c. 325 - 313 B.C.

|Kyrenaica|, |Kyrene,| |Kyrenaika,| |N.| |Africa,| |c.| |325| |-| |313| |B.C.||AE| |15|NEW
Silphium, which is now extinct, was so critical to the Kyrenian economy that most of their coins depict it. The plant was used as a spice and to treat all kinds of maladies including cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, pain, and warts. It was so widely used as a contraceptive that it was worth its weight in denarii. The traditional heart shape, the symbol of love, is probably derived from the shape of the silphium seed due to the use of silphium as an contraceptive.

"By the next day this maiden and all her girlish apparel had disappeared, and in the room were found images of the Dioscuri, a table, and silphium upon it." - Description of Greece, Pausanias 3.16.3, 2nd Century A.D.
GB96101. Bronze AE 15, Asolati 12/2 (same dies); cf. Müller Afrique 228 ff.; Buttrey Cyrene I 12, SNG Cop 1226; BMC Cyrenaica p. 45, 198, VF, porosity, some corrosion, tight flan, weight 3.799 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, 325 - 313 B.C.; obverse head of Apollo Carneius right, short curly hair, THP (magistrate) upward behind; reverse triple silphium plant, seen from above, K-Y-P around divided by members, all within a round incuse; rare; $650.00 SALE |PRICE| $585.00


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|NEW
Ptolemy Soter wanted to integrate the Hellenistic and Egyptian religions by finding a deity that could win the reverence of both groups. The Greeks would not accept an animal-headed figure, so a Greek-style anthromorphic statue was chosen as the idol, and proclaimed as the equivalent of the highly popular Apis. It was named Aser-hapi (i.e. Osiris-Apis), which became Serapis, and was said to be Osiris in full, rather than just his Ka (life force). Ptolemy's efforts were successful - in time Serapis was held by the Egyptians in the highest reverence above all other deities, and he was adored in Athens and other Greek cities.
RX95750. Billon tetradrachm, Kampmann 14.84, Geissen 170, Dattari 253, Milne 226, BMC Alexandria 157, RPC I 5281, Emmett 133 (R1), VF, toned, marks, tight flan, weight 10.998 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 64 - 28 Aug 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAY KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP, radiate head right; reverse AYTOKPA, draped bust of Serapis right, date LIA (year 11) right; ex Roma Numismatics e-auction 64 (28 Nov 2019), lot 492; ex Fritz Rudolf Künker (Mar 2008) ; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Trajan,| |25| |January| |98| |-| |8| |or| |9| |August| |117| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||dichalkon|NEW
In 112, one or the greatest Roman historians, Publius Cornelius Tacitus, was Governor of the Roman province of Asia (in Anatolia). The surviving portions of his two major works - the Annals and the Histories - examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors.
RX93583. Bronze dichalkon, RPC Online III 4774 (9 spec.); SNG BnF IV 1178, Dattari-Savio 7249, Kampmann 27.525, Emmett 726 (R5), Geissen -, Choice VF, nice dark near black patina with earthen highlighting, some porosity, ragged irregular edge, reverse edge beveled, weight 1.701 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 112 - 28 Aug 113 A.D.; obverse laureate head right; reverse oinochoe (one-handled jug for pouring wine), L - Iς (year 16) flanking in lower fields; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $107.00


Nero and Poppaea, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Nero| |and| |Poppaea,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|NEW
RPC Online I notes, "The date does look like L IB, but the coin is very battered." and "Confirmation required. Poppaea died in AD 65, so it seems unlikely that coins should have been made for her in year 12." This is the Dattari Collection plate coin and Dattari identified it as year 12. In Alexandria, Nero's year 12 began on 29 August 65 A.D. According to Suetonius, one day in the summer of 65, Poppaea quarreled fiercely with Nero over his spending too much time at the races. She was pregnant with her second child. In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, killing her. This coin suggests her death was likely on or after the 19th of August. It would have taken 9 days or more for the news of her death to reach Alexandria. This coin may have been a trial strike or perhaps one of very few struck during the first days of the new year.
RX93590. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari-Savio pl. 7, 199 (this coin!); RPC Online I 5289A (this coin!, the only spec.), aVF, brown tone, corrosion, scratches, rough, weight 7.834 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, c. 29 Aug 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAV KAIΣ ΣEB ΓEP AYTO, radiate bust of Nero right; reverse ΠOΠΠAIA ΣEBAΣTH, draped bust of Poppaea right, L IB (year 12) lower right; from the Kreuzer Collection, ex Naville Numismatics auction 51 (21 Jul 2019), lot 301; ex Dattari Collection; this is the only known example of this type dated year 12!; unique!?; $750.00 SALE |PRICE| $675.00


Tiberius Gemellus and Germanicus II, Twin Grandsons of Tiberius, c. 19 - 23 A.D., Kyrene, Kyrenaica, North Africa

|Kyrenaica|, |Tiberius| |Gemellus| |and| |Germanicus| |II,| |Twin| |Grandsons| |of| |Tiberius,| |c.| |19| |-| |23| |A.D.,| |Kyrene,| |Kyrenaica,| |North| |Africa||AE| |20|NEW
Tiberius Gemellus and Germanicus II were the twin sons of Drusus and Livilla, the grandsons of the Emperor Tiberius, and the cousins of the Emperor Caligula. Gemellus is a nickname meaning "the twin." Germanicus II died in childhood. Because Gemellus' was too young to assume the throne, Caligula was summoned by Tiberius to Capri in 35 where he and Gemellus were made joint-heirs. Tiberius may also have selected Caligula because, according to Suetonius, Tiberius detested Gemellus, believing he was result of an adulterous affair by his mother. Tacitus records that while they were in Capri, Tiberius, with Gemellus in his arms, looked at Caligula in tears and told him: "You will kill him, and another will kill you." Caligula had Gemellus killed in late 37 or early 38, not long after assuming power, and was himself assassinated in 41.
RP96983. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 948 (1 spec.); BMC Cyrenaica p. 121, 52; Asolati 171, aF, rough, porous, corrosion, off center, edge crack, weight 3.203 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, c. 19 - 23 A.D.; obverse dromedary (one-humped Arabian camel) standing right in laurel wreath border; reverse bare heads of the twin sons of Drusus, Tiberius Gemellus (on left) and Germanicus II (on right) face to face, TIB ΓEP above, KAIΣAPEΣ below; extremely rare, only three other specimens known to FORVM, zero sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; $400.00 SALE |PRICE| $360.00


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy IV Philopator, 221 - 204 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Egypt,| |Ptolemy| |IV| |Philopator,| |221| |-| |204| |B.C.||triobol|
Ptolemy IV's surname Philopator means father lover, ironic since according to some authorities he poisoned his father. Ptolemy IV is a major protagonist of the apocryphal 3 Maccabees, which describes events following the Battle of Raphia, in both Jerusalem and Alexandria. He was a cruel and evil monarch.
GP96510. Bronze triobol, Lorber CPE B494, Svoronos 1128, SNG Cop 203, SNG Milan 213, Weiser 52, Hosking 51, Noeske 146, Malter 155, Choice VF, well centered, some light corrosion, reverse center weakly struck, central depressions, beveled obverse edge, weight 31.538 g, maximum diameter 32.1 mm, die axis 340o, Alexandria mint, c. 221 - 219 B.C.; obverse horned head of Zeus Ammon right, wearing taenia; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing left on thunderbolt, head left, wings closed, filleted cornucopia left, ΛI between eagle's legs; $225.00 SALE |PRICE| $203.00


Kyrene, Kyrenaika, North Africa, c. 37 - 36 B.C.

|Kyrenaica|, |Kyrene,| |Kyrenaika,| |North| |Africa,| |c.| |37| |-| |36| |B.C.||quadrans|
This is perhaps the last numismatic depiction of a silphium plant.

The Crassus in named on this coin cannot be the wealthy triumvirate colleague of Julius Caesar and Pompey, who died in 53 B.C., long before this coinage. This Crassus is almost certainly his grandson, Marcus Licinius Crassus the Younger. He fought with Sextus Pompey but transferred his loyalty to Marc Antony in c. 36 B.C. Under Mark Antony he was responsible for Crete and Cyrene. Shortly before Actium, Crassus defected to Octavian. He was consul in 30 B.C., triumphed in 27 B.C., and died long after.
GB96100. Bronze quadrans, RPC Online I 918 (12 spec.); BMC Cyrenaica p. 64, 26; Asolati 149a-b; SNG Cop 1312; Müller Afrique -, VF, brown tone, well centered, porous, edge cracks/splits, beveled obverse edge, weight 3.366 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, magistrate Crassus, c. 37 - 36 B.C.; obverse KPA (Crassus), head of Libya right, with corkscrew curls; reverse silphium plant, K-Y/P-A (Kyrene) flanking in two divided lines; rare; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00


Kingdom of Mauretania, Juba II and Cleopatra Selene, 25 B.C. - 24 A.D.

|Mauretania|, |Kingdom| |of| |Mauretania,| |Juba| |II| |and| |Cleopatra| |Selene,| |25| |B.C.| |-| |24| |A.D.||AE| |27|
After his father's defeat and suicide, Juba II was take to Rome and paraded in Caesar's triumph. He was then raised in Caesar's household where he and Octavian became lifelong friends. He accompanied Octavian on campaigns after Caesar's death even fighting at the battle of Actium against his future wife's parents. Cleopatra Selene was the daughter of Cleopatra VII by Marc Antony. After the battle of Actium, she was raised by Octavia, Octavian's sister. Augustus restored Juba II as the king of Numidia c. 28 B.C. and later arranged for him to marry Cleopatra Selene II giving her a large dowry and appointing her queen.
SL95881. Bronze AE 27, Alexandropoulos 209, Mazard 351 (RRR), SNG Cop 605, De Luynes 4013, NGC F, strike 4/5, surface 2/5, lt. smoothing (5872605-040), weight 18.59 g, maximum diameter 27 mm, die axis 90o, Caesarea (Cherchell, Algeria) mint, 25 B.C. - 24 A.D.; obverse REX IVBA, diademed and draped bust right, club over shoulder; reverse BACI−ΛICCA / KΛEOΠATPA, headdress of Isis, with stalks of grain, crescent above; NGC| Lookup; very rare; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00










REFERENCES|

Alexandropoulos, J. Les monnaies de l'Afrique antique: 400 av. J.-C. - 40 ap. J.-C. (Toulouse, 2000).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Babelon, J. Catalogue de la collection de Luynes: monnaies greques. (Paris, 1924-1936).
Falbe, C. & J. Lindberg. Numismatique de L'Ancienne Afrique. (Copenhagen, 1860-1862).
Müller, L. et. al. Numismatique de l'ancienne Afrique. (Copenhagen, 1860-1862).
Roman Provincial Coinage Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Strauss, P. Collection Maurice Laffaille - monnaies grecques en bronze. (Bàle, 1990).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 8: Egypt, North Africa, Spain - Gaul. (1994).

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